The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128026   Message #2862516
Posted By: Dave the Gnome
12-Mar-10 - 07:48 AM
Thread Name: BS: Diabetes... another thread
Subject: RE: BS: Diabetes... another thread
I have had direct experience of type 1 diabetes for almost 20 years. Not got it myself but someone very close has. So we know quite a bit about sticking needles in! The swab cleans the skin of infection before being pieced. Even if you use a new needle or lancet every time you may have picked up an airbourne infection which in itself does no harm on the skins surface but can do some damage when it enters the bloodstream. Likewise the needle or lancet can pick up micro-organisms which may or may not survive long enough for you to stick them in you. Idealy you would use a swab to make sure the skin is sterile before being pierced and a sterile needle or lancet each time to ensure no infection gets under the skin.

That's the theory. In practice the needle or lancet is a lot less likely to carry an infection than your own skin. Provided no-one else has used it of course! An airbourne micro-organism is far more likely to get to your skin and survive than it is to infect a needle. A needle or lancet, however, is far more likely to get infected by the presence of micro-organisms that are already under your skin. Provided that the ones already there don't get together with the ones on your skin and start their own party you will probably be OK:-)

It's a call you have to make yourself realy but, from experience, swabbing the skin before anything penetrates it makes sense. Re-using a needle or lancet should be OK as long as you are happy that it is clean and you do not re-use it too often.

Hope that helps.